This week we bring you research which unmasks how your social class etches itself onto your face, and a guide to fact-checking in an ostensibly ‘post-modern’ age. And from the serious to the bizarre, we capture the moment when Macron launches himself from a helicopter into a nuclear submarine.
And, of course, there’s Charlie’s Attic – the underground nuclear bunker that Emmanuel doesn’t even know of, and where the codes to reviving the 80s pop revolution are secretly stored.
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Your face & social class
Image taken from original source
Behaviour change specialists have for many years researched how to tackle discrimination in the workplace. And though there’s been progress over the years, this lawsuit – filed by a gay hospital worker in Georgia, USA – is a timely reminder that prejudice often still remains engrained, including in parts of the public sector.
In this context, this research by psychologists at the University of Toronto poses a big challenge to anti-discrimination campaigners. It shows that socio-economic class imprints itself onto people’s faces, with factors like household income affecting how people look. The authors warn that employers may (consciously or inadvertently) select rich over poor candidates by reading into people’s background on the basis of appearance.
Has politics really become ‘post-truth’? The term has become as controversial as it is widely used, with some arguing that it’s problematic because we never lived in a world of rational discussion in the first place. Whatever your position, campaigners know that trying to win people over to a cause they are averse to by presenting them with the facts alone usually doesn’t work. All too often, preconceptions trump reason – and when emotions run high, it’s simply not possible to have a reasoned, calm conversation.
How then do we build bridges to enable open, meaningful conversation when people have seemingly incompatible worldviews? And what role does presenting facts play in this process?
This fascinating Vox article neatly summarises both the power and limitations of fact-checking in public debate. Although it refers specifically to politics in the age of Trump, it makes broader points about how difficult it is to get people to accept a fact when it clashes with their worldview but also how facts can gently nudge people to challenge embedded perceptions.
We’d also point readers to our New Conversations guide. It makes the argument that, above all, what matters are good relationships based on trust – and when trust is nurtured, the possibility of meaningful exchange becomes possible. A good place to start is our tool: ‘Back of a clipboard’ engagement list – a starter kit for frontline councillors. Scroll down to p.90 to read about building strong relationships at a grassroots level.
Days after the General Election YouGov published figures which showed the extent to which age influenced how people voted, with young people opting for Labour and older people for the Tories. Our own research suggests that the latest election was, above all, determined by people’s values. Socially liberal voters rallied behind Corbyn, whilst pro-Brexit socially conservative groups (many of whom would have previously voted UKIP) opted for May.
So how then do these groups feel about the new DUP-Tory alliance? Our heatmap below shows a curious finding. The ultra-Pioneers (people on the bottom right corner) and aspirational but socially conservative Prospectors (top left-hand corner) are the two groups that are happiest with a hung parliament. These are, to be clear, people with polar opposite values. So why have both reacted with glee?
Pioneers, on the bottom right hand corner, are the most pro-Remain group – and so they are likely to be happy at the prospect of a weak Government that now has to give concessions on Brexit. Conservative Prospectors are more difficult to explain. The group is naturally mischievous and perhaps most inherently suspicious of politicians – so, perhaps, the idea of no overall political control and a tumultuous time ahead for Parliament appeals to them.
And finally this week, Charlie’s Attic, the strange world where everything becomes its opposite: Macron becomes James Bond, Labour becomes Tory, and Freddie Mercury morphs into tens of thousands of people: